Hindus refer to their homeland as ‘œthe Golden Bird’, the land of riches. Historical and documented evidences prove this. Individually we are hardworking, enterprising, and creative and regard the Indian Diaspora with pride. We are not a poor country but we do have the world’s largest poor because of the following reasons.
Wrath of Islam: 900 AD to 1700AD.
Between 600 AD to 900 AD the wrath of Islam swept across North Africa, West Asia and Central Asia through which traditional trade routes connected India with her western markets. Then from 900AD to 1700 AD the sub-continent itself was subjected to constant invasion, almost annually. These totally disrupted existing business, trade and agricultural practices while thousands of Artisans and able bodied men were enslaved or killed. Families were destroyed as hundreds of women and children were taken away to be sold in the slave markets that dotted the Silk route.
British Colonization 1700 AD to 1947AD.
In the two hundred years that Briton ruled India she subverted the India business, trade and agriculture to serve the needs of Briton. Goods manufactured by British industries were imported into India. To prevent Indian completion production of local Artisans were gradually destroyed. Hundreds of unemployed artisans ended up as farm hands and manual laborers. Vast tracts of fertile land traditionally used for growing food crops were converted for the cultivation of cash crops like Cotton and Tea. After the opium war some 500,000 acres of fertile land of the Gangetic plain was planted with Poppy to meet the growing Opium exports. Production of food crops and its easy availability declined. Exports were given Priority. During the 1876 Deccan famine, some 6.4m hundred weight of wheat was exported. Traditional community grain banks were dismantled to prevent it affecting the market fixing of grain prices. Recognition was extended to the Mughal era landowners leading to landlessness and stagnation in real wages. These policies affected the livelihood of mass of Indians creating unemployment, landlessness and poverty. Village artisans and sustenance farming families died of starvation wiping out entire families and villages. Famines occurred every 5 to 8 years in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the two centuries of British rule some 30 million Indians died of starvation.
Absence of Good Governance.
In the last sixty eight years of Independence India had been badly governed by institutions established by the British and run by administrators educated, trained and cultivated by them. Both displayed foreign mentality, lacked indigenous roots and thus adopted policies that lacked originality, motivation and long term vision. Ashamed of their own past they adopted the base moral values of the foreigners fostering dishonesty, corruption and blind imitation. The absence of nationalism, patriotism, dedication, motivation was visible from the way the country handled its tons of daily rubbish to the way it ran its Parliament.
Democracy and multiple Political Party system were imposed on a Nation, 80% of whose people were illiterate and lived in rural India. They lacked economic power and rights hence their votes are easily manipulated by local power lords. A casual glance into the background of our parliamentarians will reveal the number of criminals involved in formulating laws that govern the country.
Absence of Nationalism
Deliberate British policy prevented Hindu Nationalism from emerging in post independent India. Nationalism would have given the administrators and leadership of this nation the required self-confidence and motivation to work honestly, selflessly and with dedication for the good of the people.
India is not poor but badly managed. A dedicated and honest leadership can direct the bureaucracy to deliver. An administrative set up already exists from the centre to the level of the district (Village & Towns) via which good governance can be implemented in Education, Health, Communication, and law and order. Through digital technology effective monitoring can be carried out and feedbacks obtained.